Summer Break Is No Break For Food Assistance in Washington Either

food assistance
By Deb Kallen, Communications Assistant

Washingtonians, if you’ve just seen my recent blog post on the Summer Food Service Program in Oregon and wonder if you’ve been left out, no need to be concerned. A similar food assistance program exists in Washington.

I got a kick out of the slogan the Child Nutrition Services people coined for this program: “Food That’s In When School Is Out.” I wish I had thought of that.

Get the Details

This federal entitlement program for food assistance will kick off at schools, churches, and parks statewide toward the end of June or early July, depending on where you live, and will run throughout the summer. Free lunches are a guarantee at all sites. Some sites will also provide breakfasts and snacks. Many offer fun activities for kids, taking the strain off parents to enroll them in costly summer programs.

Funding for the SFSP comes from the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) with the mission of helping fill the nutritional gap in high-need areas. The Program mandate states meals must be served in low-income communities where at least 50 percent of children are eligible for free and reduced-price school meals. All children through age 18 are eligible. There is no requirement to document income eligibility, address or citizenship before being served.

Find A Meal Site

Find a meal site that's closest to where you live by using the locator tool on the Summer Meals website and enter your address or zip code.

Promote Well-Nourished Kids

The connection between a child receiving free or reduced lunches during the school year and receiving meals through the SFSP is by no means seamless. Many low-income families aren’t aware the program exists. If you are a service provider, an educator or come into contact with underserved families, please help get the word out about the hundreds of locations around Washington where a child who might otherwise go hungry can get a free meal. An easy way to do this is to download, print, and distribute flyers about the program from the website.

Interested in setting up a new site in your community? Call or e-mail Clair Lane, Food Security Program Manager at WithinReach. 206-830-7642

Questions about the Program?

Call the Family Food Hotline at 1-888-4-FOOD-WA (1-888-436-6392).